Knowledge and guidance from the UK's leading experts
We are the home of Responsible Retrofit and are one of the founders of the Whole House Approach in the UK.
The Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance
An alliance of the UK's leading organisations associated with the conservation and improvement of traditional buildings

The aim of the STBA is to deliver a sustainable traditional built environment in the UK.

The balance between a building’s Context (its history, setting and future), its potential for Change (in a dynamic world), and its demands for Continuity (ongoing maintenance), is challenging. The unique structure of the STBA with its three co-Chairs representing Industry, Heritage and Sustainability enables us to deliver a truly Whole Building Approach to the future of traditional buildings in the UK.


An aerial view of flooding around Muchelney, Somerset. © Historic England, Damian Grady

Historic England’s Position on Climate Change and Sustainability has been published and it provides great reassurance that heritage bodies like HE, who are members of the Climate Heritage Network and co-signatories of the Joint Heritage Sector Statement on Climate Change, are onboard and active in the drive for zero carbon.

Some of the main messages being promoted are:

  • Understanding sustainability over the long term
  • Sympathetic, informed maintenance, upgrade and reuse of existing buildings and historic places is a sustainable approach
  • Taking a ‘whole building approach’ leads to sustainable decision-making
  • Considering the whole-life carbon of materials leads to more sustainable decisions

Historic England


Rusty render beads both look terrible and also produce a route into the structure for moisture. The rust is caused by the removal of the thin galvanised layer on the steel bead by the trowelling on process. This can be easily avoided by either using stainless steel or plastic beads, but these tend to be more expensive and so not specified. However, it is really worth the additional expenditure at the start.

It is still not an ideal solution though, as any corner produces a weak point as the render tends to be applied in one direction to the bead and then from the other, thus creating a tiny fracture between the layer perpendicular surfaces. It is best practice not to create this fissure and this can be achieved by rendering / plastering around a corner / angle by at least 10-20cm in one movement. Just by doing this, it removes any ‘joint’ in the material and hence improves its’ coherence. This is so important around sensitive junctions in buildings as these tend to be the weak spots in any construction.

Welsh Lime


💯 #BrewMonday
Updated news & events of @STBA_UK members & friends' projects is on our site.

Featuring: @escukltd @ZeroCarbonYorks @TywiCentre @greenregister & much more!

#retrofit #education #heritage #conservation



Can you help @MuseumFolly in Settle with a donation of wood ash for their hot lime mortar mix? The ash needs to be from a wood fire only (no coal) and from logs, not reclaimed timber

Built in 1670s and Grade I listed. Here it is in 1930 from our archive

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